Kyle Metcalf Of Newswire On How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, & Email to Dramatically Increase Sales

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Collaboration — Marketing is rooted in collaboration. Devising strategies and creating campaigns are great times to brainstorm with others. That snowball effect of ideas in a brainstorming session can lead to campaigns that move the needle for a brand. Open lines of communication and strong collaboration can unlock your full potential as a marketer.

Marketing a product or service today is easier than ever before in history. Using platforms like Facebook ads or Google ads, a company can market their product directly to people who perfectly fit the ideal client demographic, at a very low cost. Digital Marketing tools, Pay per Click ads, and email marketing can help a company dramatically increase sales. At the same time, many companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools often see disappointing results.

In this interview series called “How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, & Email to Dramatically Increase Sales”, we are talking to marketers, advertisers, brand consultants, & digital marketing gurus who can share practical ideas from their experience about how to effectively leverage the power of digital marketing, PPC, & email.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kyle Metcalf.

Kyle Metcalf is President and Chief Revenue Officer at Newswire. Prior to Newswire, Kyle was the Chief Executive Officer of Inspired eLearning; a Security Awareness & HR /Compliance training organization. Kyle led the turnaround and sale of this distressed asset to a strategic buyer. In his role at Inspired eLearning, Kyle was recognized as The National Business Journals’ Influencers: Rising Stars, San Antonio Business Journal 40 Under 40, and C-Suite Award winner. Prior to Inspired eLearning, Kyle was the founder and General Manager for the strategic, and high-growth “Rackspace Digital” business. Rackspace Digital was founded in 2009 and quickly grew to a $100 million business. Throughout Kyle’s 12-year tenure at Rackspace he held various leadership roles across sales, channel, customer service, and product. He is also active in helping the San Antonio technology scene through community involvement with Geekdom, TechBloc, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and other outreach activities.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

My career really began at Rackspace, a Managed Hosting company where I started as an entry-level sales rep but was able to expand upon that by learning and growing with the company as it went from $100M when I started, to over $2B and publicly traded when I left. That was over a span of 12 years. During that time, I founded a business unit that focused on solutions for ad agencies, marketers, eCommerce, and website management/development and grew it into a $120M business.

After I left Rackspace, I was the CEO of a Security Awareness, Harassment and Privacy training company called Inspired eLearning. I was there for almost 4 years and in that time we transformed the business from a low-margin content company to a high-margin SaaS platform. We successfully sold the business to Ziff Davis in 2020.

For my next chapter, I really wanted to get back into the Marketing/Advertising world that I was so passionate about and well connected with. After hearing about the innovative approach Newswire takes in a somewhat archaic market, I couldn’t wait to get started!

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

I’ve made just about every mistake possible. I really believe that mistakes are necessary, but you MUST learn from them.

I almost didn’t take the call from Newswire because of all the mistakes I had made in the past in regard to the utilization of press releases. Of course, I didn’t realize how at fault I was until I learned how Newswire does it and helps our customers. At the time, I had ZERO success with press releases in my 15-year career: Both at a $2B public company with seemingly unlimited resources and a $14M training company with limited everything. Turns out, I had been doing it wrong all along!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I believe in the Personal Board of Directors’ approach. There are way too many people that contributed to my success that it wouldn’t be fair to call out one. I will say that my time at Rackspace was filled with innovative, positive, results-minded people who were VERY sharp. They were also VERY generous with their time. That’s the only way I could have made my way from an entry-level sales rep to the General Manager of a $120M business.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are innovating in the marketing space by blurring the lines between press releases and traditional marketing methods. It’s incredibly disruptive but also incredibly effective.

For example, most companies in our category are focused on their network. The reality is that all PR networks are 90% the same — Same distribution channels, same endpoints, same everything. You write a release, pick a distribution option, hit send and HOPE the right people see it. HOPE is not a strategy. This was my challenge in my former years.

Newswire works with companies to take that same press release and leverage it properly to secure earned media, improve SEO and site traffic and generate the RIGHT impressions. Looking at a fancy graph with tens of thousands of impressions means absolutely nothing if you aren’t following the additional strategic steps to drive results. That’s what Newswire does best.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?


Being “Confidently Ignorant” is important to me. I preach this in every team I’m part of. It’s OK to not know something and it’s often appreciated when someone asks a clarifying question. This sparked my active and real curiosity in most things that initially helped me build a successful sales career and later on was the foundation for everything I have accomplished. Taking a genuine interest in a customer leads to more productive conversations, stronger relationships, and faster problem-solving. I was building powerful relationships with customers that I utilized to get into Channel and Partner sales. It was this progression that led me to where I’m at today.

It’s equally important to take a genuine interest in your company, teams, teammates, and industry to build the right products and develop the right culture internally.


When I initially pitched the idea for what became “Rackspace Digital,” I was a Director of a couple of channel sales teams and I saw a need in the market that wasn’t being addressed. I put a deck together and set up a meeting with two key executives I needed support from to get going. I had one executive walk out of the room and another told me that “we aren’t going to change the way we support customers for such a small subset.” I was devastated. Instead of giving up, I was humble and asked other leaders and people I trusted for help. I ended up sharpening my pitch/projections and went back to the same executives with an offer: I’ll resign from my leadership role; give me three months to build a business plan; I’ll present it again and if you still don’t agree, I understand my current position will not be available.

That was the beginning of Rackspace Digital.


Being able to see the challenge through someone else’s eyes is incredibly helpful in problem-solving and negotiating. I have always tried to hone this skill and consider what’s at play for someone else. This was very important early in my career at a big company where I was trying to be innovative and a bit disruptive. To get anything done, I had to gain approval from multiple stakeholders. I was REALLY bad at that before I started thinking about what the individual stakeholders had on their minds. Why would they say yes if this was going to cause more work for them? What’s in it for them? Is this threatening? Why?

All of these (and many more) questions led to significantly more successful negotiations and engagements. People were thankful for the homework I did and genuinely appreciated that I would take the time to “seek to understand.”

Seek To Understand

This is another very important trait to always work on. I gained a gold medal in Political Gymnastics that I never wanted — but it sure was helpful! I use this in all aspects of life — not just business. Walk a mile in their shoes.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Where do I start? We’re always innovating and improving our product set at Newswire. Our target market is small and mid-sized businesses. These businesses and their owners don’t get enough love from our industry so we saw a huge opportunity to support them with the products and tools they need to succeed.

We recently launched PR Campaigns, which are marketing campaigns that center around a press release. Most marketing campaigns are centered around a blog post, email, LinkedIn post, or something similar. We’ve found that utilizing a press release as the focal point of the campaign yields much stronger results. A press release is a higher authority piece of content that tends to get more attention than the methods I mentioned prior. The press release also helps with SEO/traffic improvement and creates opportunities for earned media mentions. With this product, our team writes the press release, promotes it to relevant media outlets, and distributes it to our top-tier distribution network.

For a company looking for more, we offer a 12-month program called the Media Advantage Plan. It’s a series of 12 press release campaigns AND it includes a dedicated account manager, a full go-to-market plan, as well as guaranteed impressions — all for less than HALF of what it would cost to hire a single resource internally.

Ok super. Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. As we mentioned in the beginning, sometimes companies that just start exploring with digital marketing tools like PPC campaigns often see disappointing results. In your opinion, what are a few of the biggest mistakes companies make when they first start out with digital marketing? If you can, please share an example for each.

In my experience, many companies will build a plan and focus on its execution but overlook the follow-through. This is where things fall apart. Based on what you subscribe to, a prospect needs anywhere from 8–12 touches before they will interact with your brand. The consistent thing is that there is no “one and done” in marketing. It’s an “always-on” effort that needs to be fluid, CONSTANTLY scrutinized, and augmented in real-time.

Too many times I’ve seen solid effort upfront and then weak follow-through. This will not yield positive results. In addition, if you aren’t collecting and studying the data, then you’re at a severe disadvantage. It’s a true mix of art and science. The “science” comes from the data and the “art” comes from experience, trial/error, and solid creative.

Let it be known NONE of this works if you don’t have a compelling message that’s tailored to your Ideal Customer Profile.

If you could break down a very successful digital marketing campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.

Our entire campaign strategy is related to PR Campaigns. We are our own customer and utilize the Media Advantage Plan (MAP) exclusively.

The MAP blueprint is simple, yet extremely effective. After doing all the table stakes work of determining the Ideal Customer Profile and campaign focus, the MAP team takes off. If I boil it WAY down, this is the fundamental blueprint:

Identify Table Stakes (ICP and campaign focus)

Set goals for the campaign

Write the press release with a compelling statement that resonates with the ICP (also align it to PPC and organic keywords)

Write the copy for a four-drip email campaign

Determine the media/publications we want to target to gain earned media

Obsess over the results (data) as it becomes available

Augment as needed

FOLLOW-THROUGH on the leads and customer engagements as quickly as you can — time kills deals.

Let’s talk about Pay Per Click Marketing (PPC) for a bit. In your opinion which PPC platform produces the best results to increase sales?

In my opinion, Google is the best platform to use. Google dominates the search engine market and drives a majority of our PPC conversions here at Newswire. However, It’s important to point out that we’ve seen an increase in performance from Microsoft/Bing so far this year. My best advice is to focus on performance metrics that make the most sense for your business and use a mix of channels to drive real results.

Here is the main question of our series. Can you please tell us the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career as a digital marketer? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Patience — It’s human nature to want results and to want them almost instantaneously. When it comes to marketing, it’s no different. We want our campaigns to generate results, fast. But, that’s simply not the case. Patience is a valuable characteristic that marketers should possess. By being patient, we’re in turn giving our campaigns time and space to work. As a result, we get a better idea if something’s working or if we need to adjust our sails and try a different strategy.

Humility — It seems like there’s a new platform or change to an algorithm every day. Not to mention there are different types of marketing… Think social, content, paid advertising, the list goes on and on. What I’m trying to say is there’s an intense amount of information to consume and skills to master. That’s why humility is a valuable trait that empowers marketers to learn more. We can’t know every nuance of every area of marketing. And, if we pretend we do, we miss out on learning opportunities. Deploy humility to ask pointed questions and gain valuable knowledge in return.

Collaboration — Marketing is rooted in collaboration. Devising strategies and creating campaigns are great times to brainstorm with others. That snowball effect of ideas in a brainstorming session can lead to campaigns that move the needle for a brand. Open lines of communication and strong collaboration can unlock your full potential as a marketer.

Adaptability — One of the worst phrases you can say and/or hear in marketing is “But we’ve always done it this way.” Unwillingness to change and pivot is a recipe for stagnation. Marketing is constantly changing. What worked today might not work three months from now and that’s OK. Adapting to the market and evolving with the growing needs of your target audience is what will set your brand apart from your competitors and put you on a track toward continued success.

Curiosity — This trait essentially brings this full circle. We know marketing isn’t static. It’s constantly changing and that’s why curiosity is imperative. Ask questions. Do your own research. Test your theories. Let go of ideas that should have worked but didn’t. A quote from James Clear, sums this up perfectly, “Intelligence follows curiosity.” Let your curiosity guide you to new heights in your career.

Can you please share 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful PPC campaign?

My first suggestion is to start with your website and make sure it’s optimized for conversions. The last thing you want to do is develop solid PPC ad copy and strategic campaigns and then send users to a site that doesn’t meet their needs or guide them to further engage with your brand. Next, choose a platform. As I mentioned before, Google is the best platform to use, however, there are other ad platforms that can also drive results. I’d say start with Google while testing other options and keep an eye on their performance. Adjust accordingly. Finally, focus on targeting. As the popular adage says, “Everyone isn’t an audience.” The same notion applies to running successful PPC campaigns. Narrow your focus on your target audience based on their location, interests, and popular search terms. These are three building blocks brands can use to further pare down their targeting to deliver the right content to the right audience.

Let’s now talk about email marketing for a bit. In your opinion, what are the 3 things that you need to know to run a highly successful email marketing campaign that increases sales?

Who is your audience and what problems are they trying to solve?

How does your brand help solve said problems/challenges?

What is the compelling message that will make you stand out in a VERY crowded inbox/feed?

BONUS: What do you do after the prospect engages?

What are the other digital marketing tools that you are passionate about? If you can, can you share with our readers what they are and how to best leverage them?

HubSpot — Data is critical. We need to know what’s working, what isn’t, who’s engaging, and who isn’t. Having a tool like HubSpot is critical to making sense of the data so the team can make data-driven decisions to improve performance.

To get the most out of HubSpot, you need to take time and set it up correctly. Don’t cut corners. If you do, you won’t get the whole picture. It’s the foundation of all of our marketing campaigns.

SalesForce — A solid CRM is also table stakes. When you get someone to move from suspect to prospect, it’s now a job for sales to engage and close. Having this system integrated with HubSpot is incredibly useful for us to understand the entire journey from suspect to prospect to customer.

Google Analytics — Back to data. Google Analytics is the best tool out there to monitor activity on your website. Excellent UI and visualization which makes review and trends analysis easy. You don’t have to be a data scientist to sift through the information.

What books, podcasts, videos or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?

I’m a big fan of Brian Burns’ LinkedIn content. He provides actionable and practical sales advice anyone and everyone can implement.

How can our readers further follow your work?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Kyle Metcalf Of Newswire On How to Effectively Leverage The Power of Digital Marketing, PPC, &… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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